The 2007 survey of 3PL executives, conducted annually by Dr. Robert Lieb of Northeastern University, revealed a continuing trend among large 3PLs to expand their global operations. In many instances, Lieb says, the most expeditious way for a 3PL to achieve that expansion is to acquire a company in the new market that has complimentary services to its own. "We are seeing a lot of that now with respect to the Asia Pacific market," he says.
One example of this trend is Schneider Logistics' acquisition in September of BaoYun Logistics, one of the top 30 privately held logistics companies in China. Martin Winchell, China managing direction at Schneider Logistics, notes that the purchase is a good match since BaoYun's "strong and diverse" customer base fits well with Schneider's own, encompassing clients in the consumer product goods, retail, automotive and general manufacturing sectors. The purchase extends Schneider's reach across China as well, to all of the country's major regions and cities. In addition, says Winchell, "Warehousing and cross-docking capabilities were added to the portfolio."
Schneider Logistics first began operating in China in 2005 as a supply chain consulting company offering services specifically aimed at the domestic Chinese market, Winchell says. A separate entity, Schneider Logistics (Tianjin) Co. Ltd., was later established to offer domestic transportation and logistics services. With the acquisition of BaoYun, "Schneider Logistics now offers a Pan-China solution set including transportation management, warehousing, consulting and 3PL services," says Winchell.
The combination also gives customers of Schneider Logistics the benefits of both local expertise and global management practices, he says. "China is a series of local markets, each one having slightly different characteristics," he explains. "Understanding local operating parameters is key to servicing clients. BaoYun has been operating in China for more than 10 years, and this experience will provide us with the foundation to meet current and future challenges."
At the same time, Winchell says, operations in China are become more sophisticated and Schneider Logistics' experience and technology position the company well as a solutions provider for the country's increasingly complex supply-chain demands. "We are striking a balance that offers the best value for clients in China's dynamically changing logistics environment," he says. "We are constantly looking to grow with our customers as they expand and as their needs and requirements change over time. We are planning on growing from this base organically, but we are continually reviewing our strategy and evaluating opportunities." Winchell says Schneider Logistics will add freight forwarding and "first mile" solutions in China over the next 12 months.
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